Non-medical helper (NMH) support provider guidance

Providers of Non-Medical Helper (NMH) support must adhere to the Disabled Students’ Allowance Quality Assurance Group (DSA-QAG) Quality Assurance Framework (QAF) standards, and ensure that all relevant policies are in place, shared with the student, and made available to the University on request.

DSA-QAG requires external NMH suppliers to set up reporting mechanisms with Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) to inform them of the support being provided to students.

You must explain to students the importance of the reporting mechanism, and encourage students to give permission for information to be shared. You must also familiarise yourself with the information provided by our University regarding the delivery of NMH services to our students, and cascade this information to NMH workers.

Our University is keen to establish effective working relationships with external NMH suppliers to ensure quality support provision for the benefit of the student, and this document outlines the key information that staff should be made aware of when delivering support to our students.

Your commitment

External suppliers must:

  • inform the University if supplying support to our students
  • notify the University of the named person within the organisation (including contact details) with whom we can liaise about any student support queries, and respond promptly to queries or concerns that are raised about student support arrangements
  • provide copies of any relevant policies on request
  • arrange suitable meeting rooms for support sessions
  • provide a summary report for each student receiving band 4 support at the end of each term (December, March, and June), to include:
  • name of student(s) and CRN number
  • name of support workers(s)
  • brief description of support supplied
  • date on which support commenced
  • number of sessions/hours of support delivered that term, and total for the year to date
  • location of support provision
  • a note about any issues that we to be aware of or follow up
  • ensure funding is in place before commencing sessions with a student, monitor the use of the allocated hours, and ensure that students don't run out of funding (Our University is not accountable for any payments that SFE refuse to pay)
  • signpost students back to us or their Department to discuss any issues relating to University services or their course. We don't encourage NMH workers to advocate for students, please encourage students to contact us directly
  • we would encourage you to contact us if any concerns arise relating to engagement with the support or academic progression so that this can be followed up in a timely manner
  • concerns about health and safety or welfare of a student should be raised as detailed below

Wherever possible we require information to be emailed in a secure format to studentsupport@essex.ac.uk

1:1 bookable confidential spaces

External providers would normally be expected to make independent arrangements external to the University or by contacting Event Essex (not available at Loughton). However, there are a limited number of bookable meeting rooms on our Colchester Campus.

Bookable rooms at our Colchester Campus

You are responsible for providing suitable meeting facilities that are comfortable, confidential and take account of the student’s disability related needs. 

  • The rooms will be offered to all providers during term-time.
  • Bookings are to be made on a termly basis for weekly recurring use, not for one-off sessions.
  • Bookings are to be made for confirmed student contact only.
  • Rooms will be booked on a first come, first serve basis and in hourly slots, but we wish to ensure equitable access.
  • Room usage will be monitored and you may forfeit the right to use the rooms if you fail to use a room for its specific purpose.
  • No reception facilities will be available.
  • There are computers in each room but external NMH’s are unable to log in to campus computers. The student you’re working with will be able to log on.
  • Wi-fi access as a guest for your own device can be obtained from the IT helpdesk on each visit to campus.
  • There is limited mobile network coverage in the Silberrad Student Centre (to note in your risk assessment). However, there are emergency phones to contact security on each floor.

Room booking procedure

To book a room, please email studentsupport@essex.ac.uk. We will aim to respond to requests within three working days. We can't respond to short notice requests for a room or frequent changes to termly schedules.

Getting to our campuses and parking

Health and safety

  • If supporting students within classes/lectures make yourself known to the lecturer.
  • Familiarise yourself with fire procedures for the building (as displayed on building fire notices).
  • In the event of a fire alarm activation you must leave the building as directed.
  • In the event of an accident or emergency, report immediately to campus security or reception staff.
  • If you become concerned that a student you're supporting is at risk to themselves or others, report immediately to campus security
  • Cooperate as necessary with University staff and follow all instructions given.
  • Respect all safety signage and follow relevant procedures and direction given.
  • If in doubt or you have any queries speak with campus security or reception.
  • Only enter areas that you're required to as part of your support work. Do not enter any workshops, laboratories or other similar hazardous areas unless specifically authorised by University staff and then only when supervision is in place and the appropriate safety clothing/equipment is being worn.

Useful contacts

Policies and procedures 

Contact and feedback

We welcome feedback to enable us to provide the best possible service to our students and to work cohesively with external support workers. The Student Wellbeing Manager is the main point of contact for external NMH providers. You can email studentsupport@essex.ac.uk with your comments.

Get in touch
Access and Disability Service Contact us if you have any questions about our providing support to our students and to submit required documentation.